Build a Content Plan Before Starting the Site
Can you imagine stepping inside a skyscraper that was built without a clear plan or a blueprint? The thought itself is enough to scare you!
Websites operate similarly. By taking time to plan in advance what content will be on the website, the process will be more streamlined.
Your objective in this chapter is to create a basic content plan for your website.
Building Your Website Base
To begin, we need to visualize your website.
Option 1: If you’re only building one website, we recommend simply pulling out an old-fashioned pencil and paper. It will take less time than using a program, and you’ll be able to quickly jot down ideas as they come into your head.
Option 2: You can use software if you prefer. A few that we’ve used include: XMind (mind mapping program), Microsoft Visio (process mapping), and OpenOffice Draw. These can be time consuming to install, learn to use, and utilize.
How to begin
To begin, plan on having a minimum of 5 pages on your site. If possible, we recommend more.
Step 1: List the most important pages. For most businesses, these include the following pages: Home, About Us, Contact Us and Services.
Use the keyword research you already did to determine how to organize your pages. Depending on the services you offer, you might have multiple services pages, with each one targeting a specific service (i.e. bathroom remodel, kitchen remodel and basement finishing). However, make sure you are not overwhelming visitors with too many pages and options.
Step 2: Consider adding pages that are specific to your industry or business. For example, some businesses have a testimonials page or a “clients” page that talks about a few of the clients they have worked with in the past. You may want to include photos of work you’ve completed, products you use, or a blog where you share industry news.
Step 3: Be creative and add pages using terms people may be typing into search engines. You may know about certain topics that potential customers ask about on a regular basis that you may want to target.
Note: A FAQ page is a great way to add keywords you obtained in the research phase of your website. If you have the keywords in question format and answer them, you increase your chances of ranking for the keyword. Also, it helps to keep visitors on your site instead of going elsewhere to answer their questions.
More Pages vs. More Content per Page
Should you include more pages on your website, or more content per page?
As a general rule, search engines prefer a decent amount of content on each page.
What does that mean?
It depends on the page. Search engines prefer pages with at least 700-800 words. However, this may not make sense for all of your pages (i.e. Contact Us).
We recommend that you find a balance. Put a decent amount of content on pages where they make sense to have the content. If you are struggling to write more than a couple hundred words about each service you offer, it’s better to combine them onto one services page. Remember that you want consumers to understand your business, but not get overwhelmed by content because you were trying to meet a specific word count. Separate pages if there is a lot of discrepancy between the topics (for example buying a house or selling a house).
Determining the Content
Now that you know what pages you want on your site, it’s time to decide on the content. We recommend writing out the page titles or topics and then writing a few bullet points below each one to help clarify the points you’d like to communicate on these pages. This also helps you to prevent re-writing content on multiple pages. If you had a few ideas that were not strong enough to require their own page but you still would like on your site make sure to jot those down to be added later as blog content. These pages can help strengthen your website and establish credibility in the eyes of potential clients and customers.
You’ve met your objective in this chapter of creating a basic content plan for your website.
Now that you have determined a basic plan for your content, it’s time to build the site.
Let’s move on to the next chapter!